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Prologue

You might have wondered - how are the Erins able to allude to things earlier in the books and then explain them later...and we don't even notice it?

If that made no sense, think of Harry Potter. Horcruxes were first introduced in The Chamber of Secrets (the diary), and then explained in The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. We never even had an inkling about what was to happen in The Chamber of Secrets, but JKR knew what she was going to do.

Have you ever wanted to write a story like that, but you didn't know how?

Here you'll learn.

Read on, fellow users.


Chapter One - Plan

The key to a good plot is to be able to plan. I use a plot-line, sometimes referred to as a plot roller coaster, and map out the events on notebook paper. I use one like this, and you can use it to.
Plot Lines

Next, I just numbered a notebook page, and wrote down the major events in the story. As you can see, numbers 2 - 11 are the rising action, while 12 is the climax. The downfall of the plot is very steep, meaning there needs to be almost no major events leading to the end, but I added 13 in there just for convenience. 14 is the pretty much definite end in the story, and is similar to 13. 15 is an optional point - good if you're doing a series. It's the beginning of the rising action, a sort of cliff-hanger that makes you thirst for the next story. This is what I'm using for my series, Slipping. I also find it useful to create a series page, as I did, so that you can sort of write a short summary and remind yourself what's happening in the books as you go along. You just need a few sentences, but it reminds you and your readers what's happening or what's going to happen. I find them very useful.



Chapter Two - Outlining

Outlining is quite similar to planning, except it's just in a different format, and more detailed. Here's the format I would use. These sort of outlines don't have to be used for stories - they can be used for academic reports and things as well!
Screen shot 2012-05-27 at 5.45.09 PM

This is essentially the same sort of thing, but you can go into more detail than I did. For example, in the Chapter Two heading, I simply wrote 'Forbidden Love' as one of the sort of events or ideas that would happen, and then beneath it I wrote the pairings that were forbidden, in this case, Moth, who is a loner (Lo.) and Cloudfeather, who is a RiverClan cat (RC), as well as Leafstar, a ShadowClan leader (SC), and Clovertail, a ThunderClan cat (TC).

Chapter Three - Allude

Allude to things! These events don't have to be major parts of the plot. For example (I'm using Harry Potter again! :) ), Tom Riddle's Diary in Harry Potter was very important to the plot of the second book - but you didn't know of its relevence to the whole series until the last few books. This is an optional thing to do, but I find it makes stories a lot more...professional-seeming.

Alluding to different things doesn't have to be major. You don't have to go out and blare that this could possibly be a major part in your series, and you don't even have to make it a major part at the beginning. You could add it in, and then, once you're farther along in your story or your series, you might decide to use that event or idea, and then go back and edit your story and make that event or idea an allusion (don't be confused with 'illusion'!)

One reason that allusions contribute to plotlines, is that they make your story seem more deep, or developed, and if your characters are involved in this allusion - see how this can affect your characters here. It has a big effect!


Chapter Four - Wording and Fluidity

How you word things not only improves your story, but your plot as well as your characters. Wording can improve almost anything, but fluidity is often the problem.

Some might say that the wording and smoothness of the story just affects the readers' opinions of the writer, and that is true. But your plot will seem a lot more planned, and maybe even unpredictable if you word it right. Your readers won't be expecting what you're planning if you allude (see above!) to different things properly.

Now, onto the fluidity. This goes back to Chapter One, Planning. If you plan, your story will seem a lot more fluid, the plot a lot more developed, and the story generally more professional. I'm not saying you'll be an amateur if you don't do this, or a professional if you do, but that stories might have a different twist if you do things like change the wording or make the stories more fluid.


Chapter Five - Defining the Beginning, the Middle, and the End

In a good story, as a reader, it's nice to know which parts of the story are the beginning, the middle, or the end. It's not fun to have a mumble-jumble of events happening, or an end that stops abruptly, with no defined climax or denouement.

The Beginning

The beginning is usually somewhat short, and doesn't have to be outlined in bold, or clearly stated as the beginning. The beginning can't be as long as a few chapters, or as short as a few paragraphs, as long as the characters are introduced and the setting is described. The beginning and middle usually merge when the problem is formed or discovered.

You could include this in your outline or plot diagram, off on the side, or in your notebook, or just save it on your computer, user page, a blog, anything, just as long as you remember it.

  • My Characters: [Insert Character name and description here] [Insert Supporting Character name and description here]
  • My Setting: [Insert Setting and description here] If the Setting changes, describe it, and tell it!

The Middle

The middle is usually the longest part of the story. This is where all of the events happen, numbers 2-11 on the Plot Diagram (see above, Chapters 1 and 2). It begins mainly when the problem in the story is discovered, or becomes a big problem, and requires a solution.

The middle also includes the search for a solution, or the characters' troubles in finding the solution, and the problems they encounter.

The middle ends when a solution is discovered, or the character has to overcome an obstacle to get to their goal or solution.

The End

The end begins when the character begins overcoming their obstacle. In many stories on this site, this point, normally called the climax, involves a battle, because they're cats and they fight.

But a climax, or, to say it fancily in French, denouement, can be as simple as a resolving conversation.

However, the climax usually involves the antagonist and the protagonist meeting and either fighting over or discussing the protagonist's goal, and most often, the protagonist prevails and the antagonist doesn't.

At the end, everything is resolved, and things move on. This doesn't have to be a major battle or an intense conversation, but it doesn't have to be too subtle it's indistinguishable from the middle portion of the story.


Chapter Six - Good Characters = A Good Plot

See Red's Guide to Developed Characters.


Chapter Seven - Allow the Mystery

You don't want your whole plot explained in your series, at the beginning, like most other writers.

Unless, of course, that is your point.

Some mystery helps with a lot of things. You don't necessarily need your antagonist's motives to be shown at the start, you don't need the character's goals to be in full intent at the beginning of your story (unless you're in a series, and they had their intent from the book prior to the one you're writing). Allow the mystery!

This has been a short chapter. :)

Epilogue

I hope this helps you with your plotliness (as Star puts it!) and the development of your story. I hope you've enjoyed!

-Red

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